Vilfredo Pareto Research Seminar
Catia Batista

Is Mobile Money Changing Rural Africa? Evidence from a Field Experiment

Catia Batista, Associate Professor at at the Nova School of Business and Economics
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Webinar streamed via Zoom

The Vilfredo Pareto Research Seminar is the Economics department's weekly seminar, featuring external speakers in all areas of economics.

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As part of the Vilfredo Pareto Research Seminar series, the International Economics Department at the Graduate Institute is pleased to invite you to a public talk given by Catia Batista, Associate Professor of Economics at the Nova School of Business and Economics.

She will present her paper Is Mobile Money Changing Rural Africa? Evidence from a Field Experiment, coauthored with Pedro C. Vicente.

Abstract: Rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa are typically underserved by financial services. We measure the economic impact of introducing mobile money in rural villages of Mozambique using a randomized control trial. Administrative records show that mobile money availability translated into substantial adoption of these services. It also improved consumption smoothing by treated households, which became less vulnerable to both adverse geo-located weather and idiosyncratic shocks. However, mobile money led to reduced investment, especially in agriculture. Our findings suggest that mobile money facilitated rural out-migration by reducing the transaction costs associated with migrant remittances and thereby improving insurance possibilities.


Catia Batista is the co-Founder and Scientific Director of the NOVAFRICA research center. Her research interests are related to international migration and remittance flows, financial inclusion, entrepreneurship, technology adoption, education and policy evaluation. She has done work including randomized and lab-in-the-field experiments in countries such as Cape Verde, the Gambia, Ireland, Kenya, Portugal, Mozambique and Sao Tome and Principe. She is currently a Research Fellow at the international research centers CReAM (London, UK) and IZA (Bonn, Germany). Previously, Catia worked at the International Monetary Fund and at the Portuguese Catholic University, and consulted for the World Bank and the International Growth Center.